Declaration of Deputy Prime Minister Alexander De Croo on the election of Belgium in the UN Security Council

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo is very pleased that Belgium will once again have the opportunity to serve on the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member for two years, starting on 1 January 2019. Minister De Croo, who is also responsible for humanitarian affairs, indicates that Belgium will pay great attention to the respect of international humanitarian law, the protection of human rights and gender issues. “The fate of civilians suffering from conflict, women and children first and foremost, should be of primary concern for the UN Security Council.”

We are happy with the large support for our candidacy during today’s vote, providing Belgium with a broad mandate from the UNGA, which is sign of confidence in our tradition of multilateral diplomacy pursuing consensus and peace.

The humanitarian aspects of the many crises around the world, with the wider Syria crisis, Yemen, South Sudan and the DRC immediately coming to mind, will obviously be an important focus of our membership. Sweden and the Netherlands are currently doing outstanding work in this regard in the UN Security Council in the face of often stiff opposition, and we hope to support and continue these efforts with the intention of maximum impact in the field. The fate of civilians suffering from conflict, women and children first and foremost, should be of primary concern for the UN Security Council, carrying the primary responsibility for peace and security in the world. Humanitarian assistance and access to affected populations are too often used as a bargaining chip or political lever, and together with others we will strive for full respect for international humanitarian law and international human rights law.

In line with this concern for the fate of civilians around the world, in particular women and children, we will certainly focus on recurring thematic issues in the UNSC such as Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC); Women, Peace and Security (UNSC Resolution 1325); Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) and Protection of Civilians (PoC). These are all issues Belgium focused on during previous memberships of the UNSC, in particular the last time in 2007-2008, and continued to contribute to afterwards from outside the Council. Humanitarian assistance and principles, the human-rights based approach and gender issues are front and center in my policy-making, and I intend to further advance those issues with like-minded countries during our tenure on the UNSC.

During my recent visits to South Sudan and Mali, I have witnessed first-hand the humanitarian fall-out from conflict and the hard work UN peacekeeping missions have to undertake to provide answers, often under very difficult evolving circumstances, both in terms of security and relationships with local governments. Belgium increased its participation in the UN’s peacekeeping efforts, in particular in MINUSMA, and will contribute to the adoption of clear and coherent mandates for UN peacekeeping missions in the Security Council, securing priority for protection of civilians.

Belgium will of course be the strongest supporter of coherent EU positions and unity among permanent and non-permanent EU members of the UN Security Council. Belgium’s efforts to combine development, diplomatic and military efforts in a ‘comprehensive approach’ echo the EU’s integrated approach. We equally have significant experience in mediation, conflict prevention and peacebuilding at the EU and UN level, which we can bring to the table.

The world’s best preventive tool against violence and instability is sustainable and inclusive development. That’s why Belgium will continue to partner with least developed and fragile countries, mainly in Sub Sahara Africa.

Alexander De Croo,
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Cooperation